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Israel/Palestine & Egypt Trip

Week 17: Hello from Cairo

Good morning from Cairo, Egypt!  I am in Cairo for the week with a group from my seminary and we will eventually be going to Israel.  It is a seminary class called “Places of the Bible” where our Old Testament Professor takes us to a Biblical place reads the Biblical story and then points and says, “there it is” and then the group says “ooo…”  I believe our goal is to repeat this as many times as possible.  However, this is just my vision of the future from Robert world (population one) and so we will have to see if this is how the class actually operates.

The flight from Nairobi to Cairo was 5 hours almost directly north.  It’s interesting having to listen to everything that is announced in Arabic first and then English.  The preflight instruction video was quite amusing with the role of the passenger being played by a Nintendo Wii Mii (a device where you create a person and choose all of their physical features) of an Arab man with an amazing mustache (it put Tom Sellick to shame, I was impressed).  I slept most of the way cramped between two men in the emergency exit row.  My legs were happy, my arms weren’t.  Once I got off the plane I was met by a man with a sign which said “Mr. Robert ———” which is a bit different from my usual matatu ride.  His name was Ahmad and he got me through customs by just saying a few words in Arabic, he then looked at me and I said, “that was easy” to which be replied, “my dad’s vice president of (something) for Egypt Air.”  That’s how I role.  Our ride to the hotel yesterday was interesting.  Traffic was crazy, but not as crazy as Nairobi.  They don’t have cable here so every roof top is covered in satellite dishes.  At first I thought that they were bushes and everyone just grew bushes on their roofs.  Nope.  We crossed over the Nile twice which was beautiful.  Then as we approached the hotel, Ahmad said if you turn left here you’ll be at the pyramids in 10 minutes.  I coolly and literally said, “oh cool” and then turned my head to see the 3 largest pyramids filling the window to which I uncoolly started saying, “oh wow, that’s amazing!”  We then arrived at the hotel from which you can also see the pyramids.  I arrived Tuesday morning and the seminary group was supposed to arrive in the afternoon, but the afternoon came and went without them.  I finally went to the front desk and was informed that their flight wouldn’t get in until 5 AM the next morning.  So, I went to bed and woke up to Egyptian men pounding on the door delivering Isaac’s (my roommates) luggage.  I was quite startled and unaware of where I was when they woke me so I went to the door and opened it and looked grumpily out at 2 short Egyptian men as I stood there in my boxers.  I wonder what they thought seeing a 6 foot 5 white man in his boxers.  I guess everyone was confused…  The best part of my time in Egypt so far was the shower.  I turned on the water which was instantly hot and although I warily touched the water nob the shower didn’t shock me once!  I hadn’t taken a shower in 2 weeks because the water at AEE has been out for 2 weeks and when I did take my Egyptian shower I couldn’t get my right hand wet because of the stitches I had put in it Sunday.  Let me break that last statement down for you.

The day after Christmas the water at AEE stopped working and still wasn’t working when I left yesterday which isn’t a big deal I have learned.  Running water is amazing, but not a necessity.  I guess I would now put it under the want column rather than the need.  We have 2 300 Liter Containers that keep water that I boil from which to drink at AEE.  Well, I’ve been using it for basin bathing since our running water went out.  I have gotten quite good at basin bathing, but don’t think that 6’5 is the best basin bathing height.  The running water being out meant that we had to fill our toilet to flush it as well.  Did you know it takes 10 Liters of water to flush a toilet?  That’s more water than I drink in 2 days and I drink a lot of water.  The first time I flushed the toilet in Egypt I walked away with a dumb founded look on my face.  It was so easy and amazing.  Any who, I like running water is what I’ve determined.

Now to the fun story.  Sunday night I was making a special dinner, Velveeta Shells and Cheese!  And this is where irony steps in because I have been chopping vegetables regularly in the past few months and had no problems.  Well, while putting the finishing touches on my Shells, the cheese, I needed something to open the cheese pouch with.  So, I grabbed a knife and stuck it through and somehow cut my left index finger really thoroughly.  Before my mind realized I had cut myself my finger was in my mouth.  There was nothing clean there I could use to put pressure on it with so I had to walk down to my place and get something all the while using my tongue to keep pressure on my finger.  When I finally got pressure on my finger and spat out a lot more blood than I expected I realized there was a problem.  So, I went back to the kitchen sat down and ate my shells with one hand.  I wasn’t going to waste 1 of 4 boxes of shells I have here.  So after eating I called Rodgers and told him I thought I needed to go to the ER.  We went and I got 3 stitches and the doc told me not to get my hand wet for 3 days.  So, Monday when I tried to basin bathe things didn’t go so great.  One hand in the air and one hand down for washing.  I felt funny and definitely looked funny!  So, I went and got my first hair cut since being here, free hair washing!  Woot Woot.  Now in Cairo in the shower I just stick my left arm straight out and it goes right over the curtain so 6’5 is good for some bathing techniques.  So, that’s the story of the finger.  If everyone who is reading this will give their left index finger a kiss I would appreciate it.  It’s a great finger and without it I am having a fun time trying to type right now.

Well, I think that’s it for now.  I will update you all from Cairo soon!

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